Friday Fable. Abstemius’ “Capons Fat and Lean.”*

Posted by jlubans on December 26, 2014

Caption: A is for Abstemius, a fabulist from the 1500s.

"There were a great many Cramm’d Capons together in a Coop, some of ‘em very Fair and Fat, and Others again did not thrive upon Feeding. The Fat Ones would be ever and anon making sport with the Lean, and calling them Starvelings; ‘till in the End, the Cook was order’d to dress so many Capons for Supper, and to be sure to take the best in the Pen: When it came to that once, they that had most Flesh upon their Backs, wish’d they had had less, and ‘twould have been better for ‘em."

"Prosperity makes People Proud, Fat, and Wanton; but when a Day of Reckoning comes, They are the First still that go to Pot."

So, unless you have friends at court, try like the dickens to avoid having the fattest salary, playing the cramm’d capon – however unintentional - at your organization, less you become a marked man among the envious and devious when the Day of Reckoning arrives. Wear camo; take benefits that do not appear in your salary line. Once the envious are in ascendance, they’ll use your prominent salary against you and your job will be in jeopardy, regardless of past, current (or potential!) accomplishment. Like the Australians, say, the tallest flower in the field is the first to be cut.

*Source: Translation by Sir Roger L’Estrange available here.
Professor Laura Gibbs has this to say about Abstemius:
“Laurentius Abstemius (Lorenzo Bevilaqua) was a fifteenth-century Italian scholar. Although he was the author of various scholarly works, he was best known for his Hecatomythium Secundum, a collection of “original” Aesop’s fables inspired by the classical tradition of Aesop’s fables, (Venice, 1499 )It is a truly marvelous collection of fables, marked by sharp social satire, including satire directed against the church. Aesop himself would definitely approve!”
He was librarian to Duke Guido Ubaldo under Pope Alexander VI.

@Copyright John Lubans 2014
« Prev itemNext item »


No comments yet. You can be the first!

Leave comment